Issued 3 February 2004

Heavy rain brings relief to Queensland and northern NSW

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that heavy rain during January removed, or significantly eased, long-term (nineteen-month) rainfall deficiencies over inland Queensland and parts of northern NSW. There was also some easing of the situation in western WA, but deficits remain along the central and northern Queensland coasts and in the southeast of the mainland.

Rainfall totals of 100 to 300mm (150% to over 400% of average) fell over the most rainfall deficient areas of northern and inland Queensland during January. The state-average rainfall was the highest for January since 1996, and while this was not exceptional, the heaviest rain was concentrated in the districts that needed it most, that is, the Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Northwest, Central West, Maranoa, Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt. Deficits were also removed in parts of the Northwest Slopes and Plains in NSW.

19-month rainfall deficiencies

However, for the 19-month period from July 2002 to January 2004, rainfall deficiencies remain to the southwest of Charleville in southern Queensland, to the northwest of Bourke in northern NSW, as well as along most of the Queensland coast and ranges north of Mackay. Also affected is an area of the southeast mainland that includes patches of the Central Tablelands, Southwest Slopes and Plains, Southern Tablelands, and South Coast and Illawarra districts in NSW, together with most of Gippsland and the Central district in Victoria. Record low falls for the period have been registered near Bairnsdale in southeast Victoria. In WA, long-term rainfall deficiencies have also eased and are now confined to relatively small patches between Exmouth and Dampier.

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Definitions

Lowest on record - lowest in the historical analysis, which runs from 1900.
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals.
Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%.

Very much below average - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals.
Below average - rainfalls in the lowest 30% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 10%.
Average - rainfalls in the middle 40% of historical totals.
Above average - rainfalls in the highest 30% of historical totals, but not in the highest 10%.
Very much above average - rainfalls in the highest 10% of historical totals.

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